If you've got any kind of dried pasta, olive oil, salt and pepper, you're just a few steps away from a meal that tastesbetter than the sum of its parts.
The Anytime Pomodoro
This bright and colorful sauce is delicious with fresh, or canned, plum tomatoes; the one thing we insist upon is making it with fresh basil, since its peppery-sweet, vibrant taste just doesn't come through if you use the dried version of the herb. The other element here is garlic; don't skimp on it, since when you cook it in olive oil it mellows and loses any of its harshness.

Get the recipe: Quick Pomodoro Sauce
A Light And Citrusy Meal That'll Fill You Up
Lemon juice and zest, thinly sliced pancetta and pitted black olives give this spaghetti dish a lovely balance of tart and salty flavors. Any black olive will work, though we find that the fruity taste of kalamata and Gaeta olives nicely complements the flavors of the lemon and ham.

Get the recipe: Spaghetti with Lemon, Olives and Pancetta
Creamed Spinach, Reinvented With Carbs
A bag of fresh spinach has infinite possibilities -- omelet, salad, quiche, side dish -- yet one we don't often think of is tossing it with hot pasta. Its heat (fettuccine is particularly good with this sauce) quickly wilts the nutritious green and the pasta takes beautifully to rich, smooth cream and a smattering of grated Parmesan.

Get the recipe: Creamy Spinach Fettuccine
The Fast Track To A Dish That Tastes Like It's Been Cooking For Hours
Sausage is a flavor bomb on its own; use it to build a pasta dish and you won't need to do much to end up with a perfectly salted, savory meal. Remove the meat from the casing and crumble it into the pan, cook it until it browns then add parboiled broccoli florets (you can also use cauliflower or broccoli rabe). It's great tossed with orecchiette, shells, or any other pasta shaped like a cup that can scoop up bits of meat and vegetable.

Get the recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli
A Use For Sage That Anyone Will Love
Thinkstock/Oliver Hoffmann
Sage is known for how well it pairs with meat, yet it shines in this vegetarian dish thanks to one very supportive partner: butter. It doesn't take long to make a silky, herbaceous sauce out of the two; and while rich, cheese-filled ravioli is the obvious choice for pasta, any medium-size cut pasta, such as mezze rigatoni, orecchiette or gnocchi are great, too.

Get the recipe: Pasta with Sage-Butter Sauce

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